Monday, February 6, 2017
The Elephant in the Room
I haven't said anything about politics recently, mainly because when I work around my property, or when I come here to write, I'm actually trying to get away from it. I watch the news daily, and occasionally check the latest happenings on my computer throughout my work day, so safe to say I'm pretty much knee-deep in the minutiae of what's happening right now.
And the thing is, everyone who pays any attention to politics has what the experts call "hot button issues." They are the things that matter the most to us -- the things we'd turn out to protest for or against, write letters to Washington in regards to, etc. For me, it is and always has been The Environment. It's a big, garish, nail-polish red button to me.
You can probably throw in Science along with The Environment as well (the two hold hands on a pretty regular basis anyway, so it's not really a stretch). People are entitled to their own opinions, but not their own science. Science just IS. Now, that doesn't stop some loud voices from attempting to come up with their own spin on scientific facts, but you get the point.
So as you can imagine, my world has seemed a bit darker and more tense in the last month or so.
But I'm also an optimist. I've donated good amounts of money to the Sierra Club, the National Resources Defense Council, and various coastal environmental groups over the years. This was done to help protect the environmental laws and regulations that keep our wild areas and our animals safe and with decent protections in place. And now it's time for them to use that money like never before. So I'll send more.
And here's something happy to think about: In two years, I can almost guarantee there will be a surge of Democrats voted into various congressional seats, but until then I'm relying on those groups to help keep the things I value most about our country safe, by keeping new and stupid laws, or relaxation or old and reasonable ones, tied up in court for the foreseeable future, until saner heads again prevail.
I am also relying on individuals within and outside the government system like Alt. NationalParkService ( https://www.facebook.com/AltUSNationalParkService/) to keep speaking up, to refuse to silence the dispassionate and objective voice of science, and to help them whenever and wherever I can.
March for Science? I'm there. March for The Environment? Count me in. You can argue that protesting does not actually accomplish anything, but where would the Civil Rights Movement be now without the protests that happened 40 years ago? Do you really think women would have just magically been granted the right to vote if the Suffragette Movement had not taken it to the streets (and to their dinner tables) and demanded it -- and not nicely or in a pretty, lady-like way?
While this blog focuses on a microcosm of daily life in my own little universe, please don't ever think that I live in that microcosm because the big issues are too hard for me to deal with. I recognize that many of your hot button issues may not be my own, so I leave it out of my writings, most of the time. It's more to keep the peace than anything else. But it occurred to me recently that I should at least state my opinions so you know where I'm coming from.
And remaining politically quiet here doesn't mean I'm not taking action in my own personal ways. Far from it. Who knows, this may be the season of my life when I actually end up getting arrested for blocking a street, refusing to move from one spot on a piece of hallowed ground, or something equally inconvenient yet necessary.
Until then, it's going to be all about spring planting, used-item upcycling and pursuing peace, balance and free time. But that's not all there is to life. Now more than ever, it may be time to be a presence in the world.
Kind of ironic that the Old Boss who supposedly was going to bring in change did not bring about nearly as much as the New Boss who wants to take us back to 1962 is bringing, and that it's change we're actually going to be fighting against, not for. But there it is.
So my advice is this: Grow onions. Install row covers. Write your Congressperson. And knit your brain hat for the Science March, donate to the Sierra Club like never before, and if the White House Switchboard is no longer taking comments, find another opening to register your comments on. The last I heard, Twitter and Snail Mail were still working.
But keep the faith and keep going. None of this will last forever.